LEXINGTON – August 17, 2021 – KEITH TAYLOR
Will Levis doesn’t feel as much pressure now that he’s been named the starting quarterback at Kentucky.
The Penn State transfer said the announcement last weekend that he would be the starting signal-caller in the season opener against the University of Louisiana Monroe on Sept. 4 felt “great” and was a “big weight off my shoulders.”
“I think just to have the trust of the coaches — it’s a great feeling to know that I’m entrusted with the offense,” Levis said Tuesday.
Levis said the decision by Kentucky’s coaching staff “made a lot of sense” and he was prepared for the task at hand.
“Whoever the decision was, with the new offense, and the need to get as many reps as possible before the first game,” Levis said. “It was time to lock down who’s going to be taking those ‘ones’ through the rest of camp.”
During an open practice for members of the media, Levis was on target with nearly all of his throws and was in command of the offense. He shared first-team reps with backup quarterback Beau Allen and launched several successful deep throws to his receivers. Levis said the workout was typical of his everyday showing during fall camp. The ball placement was on point during the two-hour scrimmage.
“I’ve done really well this camp, I think,” Levis said. “I’ve seen the dividends of the work I’ve put in this summer. It really has paid off.”
Prior to camp, Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen said Levis’ past performances in contests while at Penn State were instrumental in his ability to land the job. Coen pointed out Levis’ performance in a comeback win against Nebraska as one of the better performances on his resume. He said Levis clearly earned the starting position during the first week of fall camp.
“I think just Will’s work ethic and the way he came in and ran the show,” Coen said. “His personality is one that guys will naturally follow. We got to see some of the arm strength talent and now he’s got to clean up some of the plays. Right now, he gives us the best chance to win.”
Now that he’s the top quarterback on the depth chart, Levis plans to take on more of a leadership role in the immediate future.
“Being a leader for the team and learning how to connect with all the guys the best way possible,” Levis said. “Obviously, since I’m new here, I’ve spent these last few months trying to get to know these guys.”
• Darian Kinnard has been moved from left tackle back to right tackle and Dare Rosenthal will line up on the left side moving forward.
“Obviously, the left tackle is the money man, but you’re going to try to put matchups on the right tackle to get those one-on-ones so that guy’s gotta be very strong and elite,” Coen said. “I think Darian recognizes that and he knows he can play at a high level and play fast playing at right.”